As a death doula, part of my work is supporting families through the journey of loss and bereavement. As a ritual healing practitioner, my interest in that work is what's happening at a soul level after someone we love dies.
Soul healing after a big loss isn't about "getting over" the person or "getting over" how important they were in our life, or even "getting over" our grief.
Soul healing is about integrating. It's about slowly and gently coming to terms with the magnitude of the pain and the loss. And it's about growing into the person who's able to live with that kind of loss, with that intensity.
Profound loss is calling us on a journey into profound growth. Loss and transformation go hand in hand.
When someone dies, the grief and heartbreak are huge. They are all we can feel, all we can see, all we can experience. It's like a ball of energy in our system. Every time we turn around, we bump into it. It consumes everything.
But as we start to heal, with support, with healing practices, and with time, two things start to happen.
First, that huge ball of energy gets a little smaller. The shock wears off. It's not so painful and hot and sharp and intense. It starts to get right-sized. It becomes "this much" grief and sadness. It has edges. It's contained, and it doesn't permeate all the other aspects of our life.
The grief and the energy get smaller, but we also get larger.
Again, with time and practices and support, we heal, we grow, our nervous system learns how to be with that intensity. And we learn the lessons that the grief has to offer us.
Difficult experiences help us grow. We don't grow when things are easy, we grow when things are hard. As we learn those experiences, we become more capable people.
We all know people who have experienced a loss and not been able to integrate it yet. It's right there on the surface for them, even years later.
When we integrate loss, it doesn't go away. We don't lose our memory of the person or how much we love them, or even our grief. Sometimes they come up, sometimes we feel them, sometimes it hurts. That's normal. But it's not up front and center all the time.
Think about people in your life who've experienced really difficult things and have made their way through, who have metabolized and digested and integrated the experience to become stronger and more capable.
That's an initiatory approach to grief and loss. It says it's growing us into a new and more capable person, if we can meet it that way, and if we have support.
I hope you've enjoyed this short video on grief and loss as initiation. I have a longer class on the same topic. You can learn all about it here